Red Lake Nation Declares COVID-19 Threat a Public Health Emergency
March 16, 2020
After meetings with the Red Lake Tribal Council, the Red Lake COVID-19 Emergency Response Team, and consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians announced in a press release today that they are declaring the threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus as a public health emergency. As such, any unnecessary travel, including personal travel and for all tribal programs, is suspended effective immediately.
The release says that to protect the health and general welfare of people living on the Red Lake Reservation, it's recommended that the general public postpone any visits from towns or cities that have known confirmed cases of COVID-19. They say this is a temporary measure and will be in effect until it's deemed that the travel ban can be lifted. Personnel coming back from affected areas are also recommended to be placed on administrative leave for up to 14 days.
In addition, the Jourdain Perpich Extended Care Center is restricting all visitors amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian Health Service – Red Lake Hospital is also restricting visitors to no more than one visitor at a time, and visitors cannot be children.
According to a report from the Red Lake Nation Headquarters, the Red Lake Hospital has testing capabilities for those who need testing for COVID-19. Possible symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and body aches.
Physicians are asking band members to practice all precautions to combat the spread of COVID-19, such as practicing good hygiene, limiting contact in crowds, and keeping shared surfaces clean and disinfected. Physicians also ask band members to limit their travel from their reservation and to wash their hands for 20 seconds often throughout the day. These precautionary measures will reduce transmission from one person to another.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19, conditions can make your symptoms more severe including anyone who has blood disorders, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, compromised immune system, pregnancy, endocrine disorders, metabolic disorders, heart disease, lung disease, neurological and neurologic neurodevelopment conditions.
If you are sick, avoid close contact with other people, cover your cough or sneeze with a disposable tissue, or wear a facemask. If you feel sick and you need to go to the hospital, call ahead at 218-679-3912 and let hospital staff know so they can prepare for your arrival.
Red Lake Nation Headquarters will continue to update the community as they receive guidance from the Indian Health Service, Minnesota Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Anyone with questions about COVID-19 is asked to call the Minnesota statewide hotline at 651-201-3920.